President-Elect Trump’s Refusal to Divest Ownership Interests
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to President-Elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he will not divest himself of his corporate ownership interests around the world:
“In nine days, President-Elect Trump risks violating the United States Constitution and threatening the credibility of our democracy by refusing to follow in the footsteps of every modern American president. President-Elect Trump has chosen not to divest his ownership interests, not to liquidate all of his business assets, and not to place the proceeds in a truly blind trust run by an independent entity, which is the opposite of what was recommended by Republican and Democratic ethics experts. As a result, it is now up to Congress to fulfill our constitutional duty to act as an independent check on the Executive Branch to ensure that the President is not violating the Constitution. Congress must do this by obtaining all corporate and legal documents relating to the President-Elect’s global entanglements and business dealings, including the tax returns he promised to produce to the American people.”
Last month, Cummings held a forum with ethics experts across the political spectrum who warned that President-Elect Trump must liquidate his assets and place them in a truly blind trust. They also made clear that if President-Elect Trump chose not to follow this path, the responsibility would rest on Congress to obtain documents about his financial deals in order to prevent unconstitutional emoluments.
On Monday, Cummings joined Rep. Katherine Clark and other House Democrats to introduce legislation to require the President and Vice President to disclose and divest any potential financial conflicts of interest.